Purchasing a pre-made first aid kit online or from your local pharmacy may be tempting since it’s so convenient. However, it is not the best thing to do since you can’t verify the quality of all the tools and instruments. Moreover, it’s doubtful that a pre-made first aid kit will have every single thing that we believe a first aid kit must have. And we say “must” because this is first aid we are talking about. When it comes to first aid, you cannot afford to take chances.
It is best to prepare and customize your own first aid kit, even though it can be quite a daunting task. It takes a lot of work finding each tool from the checklist and making sure that you are buying something high quality.
So in this post, we will help you get started gathering the necessary tools for your own first aid kit. We won’t tell you to buy this brand or that brand, but keep in mind that quality is key when it comes to first aid. A minor injury can turn into something life-threatening, after all.
Three Levels of First Aid Preparedness
This level is for portability when you are on the go. You can bring this one anywhere as you want. It’s meant for personal use only and it practically an EDC (Every Day Carry) First-Aid Kit.
This level can be carried in your bug-out bag when you are about to bug out and leave your location. This supply is enough to get you through until you establish permanent shelter, return home, or infrastructure stabilizes.
This level is for a serious emergencies and life-or-death situations, and its supply is usually stored at home.
Tools That Make Up a First Aid Kit
This list contains the most common things that you should put in your customized first aid kit for your bug out bag. When purchasing supplies, don’t worry about space restrictions since it’s always best to have too much than not enough- and you can leave some at home and customize what you want to bring in your bug out bag depending on your needs.
Get the self-adhesive type for small injuries.
Alcohol pads or antiseptic solution
To disinfect wounds or scrapes in order to prevent infection.
To reduce and prevent bacterial infections.
To treat minor wounds and burns, preventing mild skin infections.
To treat skin conditions that may cause fungal infections.
A high-absorbent cloth used to stop bleeding by applying pressure.
To soothe minor burns.
These are adhesive bandages used to close deep wounds that bleed heavily. If you aren’t comfortable stitching yourself or others up (and who is?), butterfly bandages can be a real help in closing more serious cuts.
A type of dressing to treat chest traumas such as punctured lungs, abdominal injuries, etc.
A stretchable cloth used to treat a specific area or injury by applying pressure, mostly for sprained joints.
Used to disinfect wounds and apply ointments.
Flushed out contaminants and helps to protect the eye from burning, itching, and etc.
To treat calluses and corn, acne, and etc.
To protect from infection.
To disinfect certain areas of your skin preventing possible infections.
To treat skin conditions and insect bite along with typical minor itching, swelling, redness, and etc.
Antiseptic to clean out wounds.
Instant hot/cold packs
Helps reduce pain and swelling for injuries.
This is often overlooked, but if you have clean water, it is a highly effective tool for cleaning wounds.
Medical tape roll
It is used to attach bandages, gauze and dressing on the skin and cover wounds.
Used to get your temperature. Battery or not, oral thermometers are the most dependable.
This can be used to moisturize the skin and protect the skin to help heal minor burns and scrapes.
A gauze or cotton material used as a dressing to immobilize injured body parts and help to control bleeding by applying pressure.
It is used to cut sutures, gauzes, bandages, clothing, etc.
To prevent an injured body from moving to prevent further damage.
Sterile gauze pads
It is used to keep the wounds clean and stop bleeding.
This is a good alternative to stitches, closing significant cuts of wounds.
It is a tight band which is used to stop the blood flow to an injured area effectively.
It can be used as an arm sling or a pad to control bleeding.
It is also called ‘forceps’ and is used as pincers or extractors.
Wooden tongue depressors
These are used to allow examination of the mouth and throat. They can also be used to splint a finger.
Specialized First Aid Tools
This list contains some specialized equipment, including some equipment made for critical life-or-death situations
Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
It is a portable device to shock the heart back into action if someone is experiencing cardiac arrest.
Blood Pressure Cuff
Originally known as ‘sphygmomanometer’, it is used to measure and observe blood pressure.
It is used to treat major burns.
It provides support for the neck and spinal cord for someone suffering from a neck or head injury.
It is used to carry a person who does not have the ability to stand or must remain lying flat.
It is also called ‘clamps’ and is used to grasp and hold objects or even skin.
It is used to extract venom from a snakebite or neutralize it before it reaches and spreads in the body.
It is used to listen to a person’s heart, lungs, or gut.
This includes the tools needed for stitching wounds
Common Over-the-Counter First Aid Medicine
This list contains the essential medications you should keep at home and in your bug out bag. Your needs might be different from the list, so for your bug out bag, bring the most important ones that you think you’ll need.
It helps to reduce pain and fever.
Helps to treat heartburn, stomach or any gastrointestinal discomfort.
Helps relieve the symptoms of allergies.
It helps relieve mild to moderate pain and reduce fever.
Asthma Inhalers (If Necessary)
Helps treat breathing difficulties related to asthma.
It is an antihistamine and is used to treat or prevent vomiting, nausea and dizziness related to motion sickness.
It is used to treat serious allergic reactions.
It is a painkiller that helps different kinds of body aches and pains.
Helps treat diarrhea- there are many different types, find what agrees with you best.
Used to soothe throat irritation.
This is just a rudimentary list. When prepping and stocking your home and packing your bug out bag, be aware of your personal needs. Fine tune your first-aid kits. I say “kits” because you should always have more than one. You should at least have one at home, one in your bug out bag, and one you can carry around every day.
Preparing your first aid kit for emergency preparedness is a lot of work. But it’s far better to be prepared than to be stuck needing a certain tool or medication and not having it. The prepping philosophy is that you can never be too prepared, so this list is really only the start. You should think about situations you might run into and adjust the contents of your first aid kits accordingly.